INTERVIEW IN THE OCEAN Giancarlo Pedote: “How many beatings we took!”


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We hear from him as he and partner Erwan Le Roux sail into the lead among the Multi 50s at the Transat Jacques Vabre about a day’s sail from the Equator: Giancarlo Pedote
, the only Italian competing in the 5,400-mile Atlantic crossing from Le Havre, France, to Itajaì, Brazil, aboard the trimaran FenetreA Prsymian Has a calm and rested voice, as if nothing was wrong.

Giancarlo, how fast are you sailing right now?
We are about 26-27 knots, more or less. As a top speed for now we have touched 31.6.”

But the worst is over. How have you fared in the storm of the past few days?
“When I was young, I played combat sports, so I use a ‘boxing’ metaphor: we took a lot of beatings, locked ourselves in the corner of the ring and waited for the worst to pass. But a boxing match lasts a few minutes; here we lasted 48 hours! Waves six meters high, wind in your face at over 40 knots, a 15×15 platform within which you are tossed around to twist your guts. We didn’t sleep a wink.”

fenetrea-prysmian-vincent-olivaud 2High winds, depressions, the Atlantic “pissed off”: 16 boats out of 42 out of the running. What do you think?
“As a pundit, I think the start should have been delayed: storms are the order of the day at this time of year, with depressions coming in from Newfoundland. But it’s easy to talk in hindsight. As the racer that I am, on the day of the start, all I was thinking about was the regatta. We started conservatively so as not to break anything, then with a course further west than our opponents we took the lead.”

Feelings about trimaran sailing?
Very strange. It’s like going from Turin to Palermo in a Ferrari, in a very short time: like seeing all of Italy at 300 mph. The landscape changes very quickly.”

Now you will arrive in the pot au noir (the equatorial calms). How will you play it?
“We will still be cautious in order to avoid falling victim to some unexpected lump. We will attack once we get into the trade winds.”

Four of the new IMOCA 60s with foils from VPLP/Verdier are out. What do you think?
“The new IMOCAs went into the water too quickly. Too much slack was pulled. And damage was done. But the idea of foils is good, the future is in that direction.”

And speaking of IMOCAs, are you still thinking about them?
That I want to end up on these boats even my neighbor knows!”



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